Hair Loss Research: Some promising results
I saw your webpage and your interest in hairloss. Here is an article on some research going on in the Netherlands. The doctor is working on a process of hair follicle cell multiplication. The article is translated from Dutch so it is a little rough------
The Maastricht (= city in the Netherlands) doctor-researcher C. Gho has developed a method to 'clone' hair. In principal it is possible to 'grow' an infinite amount of hairfollicles out of a single hair with his recently patented technique. The bottom line of his invention is that out of a little plug of (head)hair haircells can be isolated. These haircells will be multiplied and grown in a laboratory. Then they will be injected in the skintissue of the head with an extremely thin needle/seringe. After a period of time the first hairs will start to appear. Gho emphasizes that his procedure is in a strict sense of the word not cloning: "when cloning one works with genetic aspects(??) at cel(lular) level, whereas this method requires different cell groups to make new hairs grow." With his technique Gho presents an alternative for the usual method of hair transplantation, where a strip of (head)hair with approximately 1000 to 1500 hairs is removed. Those hairs then are separated and planted into tiny holes on the head which the doctor previously made with a laser or drill. Negative aspect of this last method is that some people, such as patients with several degree burns, do not have enough donorskin tissue with head hair. Besides, that form of hairtransplantation is very labour-intensive and therefore expensive. The most positive aspect of the new technique compared to hairtransplantation is the preservation of the 'donor hair area'. Furthermore Gho says that his technique will be cheaper and more 'patient friendly'. Although the new technique is only one year old and more studies have to be made to improve the method, he expects that patients can actually be treated within the year.
++++++ Background article on previous article (same newspaper, same date)
"The new method is really quite simple. You take away about thirty hairs from the (head)skin tissue. These hairs still contain living hair root cells (=hairfollicle??) you can grow in a petri dish. After that you place them back on the bald area." Doctor-researcher Coen Gho from Maastricht does not really want to tell much about his remarkable invention. Giving information now is a bit premature, because this technique is still new and it needs to be further researched to perfect the method. Besides, he is somewhat afraid of the avalange of reactions that could occur. He prefers to do his research work in peace. Gho has spent the last seven years treating patients with hair problems. He likes to do research. That's the reason why he has set up a research clinic in the former Annadal-hospital in Maastricht, the GHO-clinic. Fundamental research in the area of hairgrowth is being done there. Furthermore the clinic developes and researches new treatment methods and therapies to fi! ght hairloss and baldness.
The new method is expected to have big advantages compared to existing techniques. Probably even women can profit from this method. Now only few balding women undergo hairtransplants, because the donor area of this group of the population consists of fewer hairs. By multiplying the headhair of women through the new method this negative aspect will no longer have to be taken into consideration. In principle it should be possible to regain a thick, full hairdo. According to Gho his method is more patient friendly than the so praised lasertechnique hairtransplantation, with which method the doctor drills very tiny holes in the head tissue, before planting the donor hairs. "This always causes mild damage to the surrounding of the drilled holes, thus effecting also many healthy hair follicles."
With his injection method Gho uses a minimal dose of sedative ointment, less than one percent of the dosage usually applied when performing lasertechnique hairtransplants. Also there will be no scabs, so a day after the treatment no physical evidence of this treatment can be seen. Although many tests with (human) testsubjects still have to be done, Gho is convinced that this new method can be used in an extensive way within the year. The patient will be able to get help in clinics all over the country (=Netherlands). Several laboratories connected to the GHO-clinic will take care of the growing of the hair and will send back the 'harvest' to the treating physician. If there is any doubt whether the patient can be succesfully treated, the treating physician can use a new means of communication provided by the GHO-clinic: Telemedicine. From a (far) distance experts can (via Internet) review sharp, detailed photographs of the (head)skin tissue of the patient, photo's that are made in the consulting rooms of the several clinics.
These above articles appeared in the Dutch newspaper 'De Gelderlander' dated april 15, 1998, which is considered to be a normal, serious paper in the Netherlands. 'De gelderlander' has the following internet adress: www.gelderlander.nl
The clinic is in its second clinical study. They are testing how many cells need to be injected to grow one hair and the spacing. If you are interested I can get the contact info.
Best regards Rich
About six months ago we contacted him and he said his funding was ok for the near future but might need to raise funding in the year 2000.
I contacted the clinic this month but could not get past the front desk. The girl at the front desk said the phone was ringing all day with people asking about the process. After I talked with her awhile she did tell me the second trial was going very will but would not let me talk with Dr Gho. Dr Gho is a dermatologist who does hair transplants. He has been working on the process for nine years trying to find away to have less scaring. He was granted a European patent for the multipliction process.
He submitted his apply for patent on 05-03-1997 with the Bureau for Industrial Property, The Netherlands which is an office of the European Patent Office. A patent to Dr. Gho was granted on 14-09-1998.
The summarized (the original in Dutch contains about 14 pages) description of what he patented is as follows:
"Method for the preparation of hair, which method comprises the following steps: (1) removal of hair in the anagen phase from one or more donor regions in such a way that the bulb characteristic of hair in the anagen phase is still attached to the hair removed, (2) culture of hair follicle cells from the hair removed, under circumstances such that the hair follicle cells are able to multiply, and (3) implantation of the cultured hair follicle cells in the receptor regions. Medium which comprises at least one suitable serum-free keratinocyte culture medium and is optionally supplemented with one human mast cell line and/or autologous (cultured) CD34<+> cells and/or growth-stimulating agents and a method for culturing hair follicle cells from hairs in the anagen phase, in which one or more hairs in the anagen phase are placed in said medium."
I think he might be ready for funding but it is very hard to get to talk with him now. Here is his address , phone and fax.
Here is the info about the Gho clinic.
Annadal Ziekenhuis t.a.v. Dr. C.G. Gho Becanusstraat 17 6116 BX Maastricht The Netherlands
The phone number of the Gho clinic is +31 43 3540610, the fax number is +31 43 3540611.
I am about the same age as you and about the same amount of hair. This is the only thing that I have found that could be a "cure" for baldness. I think if you can contact him through your foundation you could get some more info.
Best regards Rich ( I live in Redmond and I think I am the only one who does not work for Bill)
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 8:26 AM
I have spoken to gho several times and from what I heard from him this treatment will be commercially available within 1 year but I don't know if I can trust this cause he told in the article sent to your web site (it was originally published in the news paper "GELDERLANDER" in Holland on the 15 of April 98) that it will be commercially available within 8 months and as we know this statement didn't come true. If you want to find out all the info about this research go to the web site http://www.hairsite.com/disc75_toc.htm this is a discussion group most of the posts there do not give any info but just give speculations . But the posts contact the clinic 1,2,3,4 by Pavlo (me) and post "contact the clinic..." by a guy named Patrick will give you some info about this research. I know that currently Gho has a new group of test subjects he claims that he is getting better and better results each session of experiments last from 6-8 months the test subjects are asked to come to the clinic 14 times within this time period , the operation is done on 1cm^2 where they inject the multiplied follicles and see them growing. And for last I have spoken a week ago with a person called Will Garritsen he is the journalist that wrote the article about Gho (that was published on April 15) he says that he saw before and after pics of Gho's test subjects after the operation was done on them (only on the area of 1cm^2),he also says he will do a follow up article on Gho's research soon. If you want more info I will be more than happy to do that. I want to get clear one thing I am not asking for ANY money for myself cause I am not a researcher .I just think that if (and this is a huge if) Gho's work is as successful as he says anyone who will have even 1% from this research will be richer than Bill Gates. What I will gain from all of this ? I will just have the possibility to pay the huge amount of money for the treatment when (if at all) it will be available to the wide public. I have visited your page it was very interesting Please if you put my post on your page don't put my name on it . Call me if you can. Bye
Hair Multiplication Procedures
From: Coen Gho, M.D.
Dear interested people,
Referring to all the comments, questions and phone calls I received every day about the multiplication of hairs, I hereby will to give MY comment on the new procedure we call "HAIRMULTIPLICATION". Yes, we discovered a new method which no longer spills any donor-area, but at this moment we are still in the experimental phase and want to do more research to improve the method and hairs don't grow overnight, you know?!?! We hope to have a final and practical protocol, which can be used by other physicians within a few years. SO, I URGE YOU NOT TO CONTACT US THIS YEAR, BECAUSE WE PREFER TO DO THE RESEARCH STUDIES IN AN NON-STRESSFULL AND QUIET ENVIRONMENT. IT IS ALL FOR THE BEST INTEREST, BECAUSE IN THIS WAY WE CAN IMPROVE THE METHOD AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED ABOUT THE METHOD AND RESULTS.
Greetings from a sunny Netherlands,
Coen Gho, M.D.
Re: More new Gho info
From: John M
Well, I found out that someone who visited the clinic said that Gho can clone 5 hairs to every one hair, then clone 5 more hairs to each of those hairs. The result is a 30X increase of the donor area, and the hairs are cycling normally. Gho plans to teach selected doctors in 8-12 months.
From: Robert J. Glaser, M.D. [Robert.Glaser@stanford.edu]
At 08:49 AM 11/21/99 -0800, you wrote: this looks pretty cool, what do you think of this?
Dear Steve: It appears that the Dutch investigator is growing hair cells in vitro, probably along the lines originally perfected by Dr. Theodore Puck at the Univ. of Colorado inthe 1950s. His work won him a Lasker Award and was a major contribution to the emerging emphasis on genetics at that point. (The first formal course in genetics was established by Puck at Colorado about that time). Whether the Dutch work will be applicable tothe treatment of baldness remains to be seen. There might well be a problem in respect to rejection of cells if they are obtained from another donor. If you want to pursue the matter, we ought to see first if he has published anything in a peer-reviewed journal and if so, we should get a copy of the paper(s) for evaluation. I will stay tuned.
From: Andreas Lutz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I saw, that you updated your website, so I think, you received my first e-mail. If you are still interested in funding research for Male Pattern Baldness I have some very interesting suggestions for you.
Currently there are some very promising genetherapeutic research-teams at the Columbia University and at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of the University of Chicago:
- Famous Dr. Angela Christiano is doing a study to map the gene(s) for Male Pattern Baldness (see e.g. http://www.regrowth.com/documents.cfm?id=10106). When she has finished this study, a genetherapeutic cure can be perfected, as there are already some very good ways to deliver the genes exactly to the hair follicle (see e.g. http://www.hairsite.com/headline-news.htm) An adress to donate to her research can be found e.g. at http://www.regrowth.com/documents.cfm?id=10116) The problem may probably be, that this cure can "only" reactivate inactive hair follicles, so you probably wonīt grow back all the hair you had once. But there should be no side-effects using this way.
- Perhaps even more interesting is the research done by Prof. Elaine Fuchs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (http://www.hhmi.org). She managed in 1998 to create new(!) hair follicles in mice (see e.g. http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/follicle.html) The problem was, that the ß-catenin couldnīt be deactivated at the right time, so that benign tumors could be a consequence. So more research is needed, until human studies can be done. But when this way is perfected, you can grow a full head of hair on a completely bald scalp!
- I recently read a message of John Ertel (the webmaster of http://www.regrowth.com) at the newsgroup alt.baldspot, that there was a new computer software presented at the International Meeting of Hair Research Societies last week. This software should compare biopsies of balding and non-balding-man and so find the gene(s) for hairloss. John wanted to do a review the following week. Perhaps this is also a very interesting research-project.
So if you are interested in funding really breakthrough research, I think these are the most promising ones. There is a specific adress for Dr. Angela Christiano and I think, you can contact Prof. Elaine Fuchs at the http://www.hhmi.org-website. To find some news about the new software please take a look at http://www.regrowth.com in the following week. You could also contact John Ertel at email@example.com or Spencer Kobren at firstname.lastname@example.org. They both know these famous researchers and the most recent research. Spencer Kobren also has a special radio and TV-show related to hairloss. Perhaps he could say, that you fund interesting (genetherapeutic) projects. If you are interested or not, I look forward to your answer.
Thanks very much
there was an article called "roots" at the CQ-magazine in May 1999. Dr. Christiano, one of the most important gene-researchers, complained, that she wasnīt funded by the pharmaceutical industry at all. So she would be surely very happy about some additional money, I think. I donīt know, if the other famous baldness-researchers (Dr. Crystal, Dr. Fuchs) have enough money, so it would be great, if you could contact them. But I think, that everyone of them would need the money. For example they could buy faster and better software to find interesting genes, they could employ more researchers, they could make better PR and so on.
Thank you Harald
From: Ben A. Barres
Dear Steve, For a recent review on male pattern baldness, see:
It is an interesting question you ask. If baldness were due to the death of cells that generate hair, then maybe stem cells would help. But looking at this review, they say what is going on is that there is a process of androgen induced miniaturisation of the hair follicles. But maybe they are miniaturizing because of gradual loss of hair follicle cells due to cell death. In fact, in the one condition where baldness occurs real quickly, which is chemotherapy, I just did a medline and their is massive apoptosis (programmed cell death, cell suicide) of hair follicle cells! This was just discovered in the past year. So this is cool, because it means that if normal male pattern baldness is also due to apoptosis (and there is evidence that testosterone can induce apoptosis of some cell during normal development; particularly in women because sex hormones mold the genitals and brain) that some of the newer methods and drugs to block apoptotic cell death might be applicable.
To find out whether there is apoptosis in normal male pattern baldness will require some work however, because their the period of baldness development is quite protracted but the clearance of apoptotic cells is very rapid. So if you look at any instantaneous moment at the scalp you may not see any dead cells. What is needed is an animal model of male pattern baldness. I just did a quick literature search and the only model that I saw that looked very interesting for this purpose is:
Dermatol Clin 1996 Oct;14(4):609-17 , The growth of human hair in nude mice. Neste DV, Skin Study Center, Tournai, Belgium. The author reviews published papers on human hair growth in nude mice. There is evidence from various sources indicating that grafting of human scalp onto nude mice does not modify significantly morphogenesis, hair follicle structure and function, and composition of the newly grown hair fiber. On the basis of personal observations, the authors further highlights the results obtained in genetic hair defects. Hints are given as to the potential use of the model for drug discovery programs as the product can be used on the human target at early stages of drug development.
Nude mice do not have an immune system, so you can graft human hair onto them. Its a cool idea. Then maybe they could be blasted with high doses of testosterone to induce baldness on the human skin graft, perhaps.
So you might block the death by application of drugs that block androgens (currently being done; that is how propecia works), by drugs that block apoptosis (no one has tried yet to my knowledge), and you are suggesting by grafting stem cells that could give rise to new hair follicle cells.
Stem cell research is really heating up by the way, I was just interviewed again by the New York Times last week about another stem cell paper that was just published this week by Science. This one is a real shocker. This guy called Vescovi discovered that neural stem cells injected into an irradiated mouse that lacked blood cells (thanks to the irradiation) actually gave rise to new blood cells. This is totally shocking because everyone thought that the neural stem cells were restricted to generating neural cells. So if stem cells really retain some plasticity and can be induced to generate other types of cells, then this has enormous implications. For instance, I am trying to convince Irv Weissman, an expert on blood stem cells, to see if the blood stem cells injected into brain will give rise to neural cells. If so, this would be amazing, because it is easy right now to obtain blood stem cells from people. Irv is the guy by the way who is running this new Stem Cell Co. that I mentioned to you; he said he would be interested in talking to you, but he is a novice e-mail user. But I actually got an e-mail from him this week! his e-mail is email@example.com.
I am subject to male pattern baldness too, so I hope someone comes up with something soon! Thanks for the interesting e-mail! (You have very good ideas, you really do) Ben